Instagram Photos No Longer Visible on Twitter

PHOTO: On Dec. 9, 2012 Instagram blocked photo embedding on Twitter.
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It used to be that if a friend of yours tweeted an Instagram photo it appeared right in line on Twitter.com or in a Twitter app. You didn't have to click on a link to see the photo, it just showed up right in your Twitter feed.

It used to be that way.

On Sunday, Instagram yanked that feature, no longer allowing photos to appear in Twitter feeds. An Instagram spokesperson confirmed yesterday that the feature had been pulled and that there were no plans to re-enable it.

Why, you ask? Here's one likely factor: Instagram was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion in April.

Twitter confirmed Instagram's move on its Status blog. "Instagram has disabled photo integration with Twitter. As a result, photos are no longer appearing in Tweets or user photo galleries. While tweeting links to Instagram photos is still possible, you can no longer view the photos on Twitter, as was previously the case," Twitter said on Sunday evening.

Instagram and Facebook would not comment on why the service had been disabled to ABC News, but last week Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said at the LeWeb 12 conference that Instagram would rather people view the photos on Instagram's own site.

"We're working on building an awesome Web presence, which we just launched," said Systrom. Instagram just launched user pages, so that users can see photos on the Instagram.com site. Instagram would rather people view photos on its own site or on Facebook.

Twitter has also been rumored to be planning to improve its own photo-sharing capabilities by adding photo filters before the end of the year. Twitter wouldn't comment on the rumor.

"This is likely the result of the Facebook acquisition, as it makes little sense for Facebook to send Instagram pictures to Twitter," Michael Gartenberg, research director at Gartner Inc., told ABC News.

But all is not lost if you want to view Instagram photos through Twitter right now. Viewing photos is still supported on third-party Twitter apps like Tweetdeck, Tweetbot and Hootsuite. Instagram users can also choose to save photos to their phones and then tweet them using Twitter's photo service. There's also an extension for Chrome browsers called "InstaTwit" that lets you view Instagram photos right through Twitter.com.

But, ultimately, it will be much harder for users to view these photos on Twitter.

"It's a reminder to users that while they generate the content, they are at the whim of the services they use," said Gartenberg. "It shows that free services do have a price when the user's content is the commodity."

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